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The compassionate Christ calls us to come and rest

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By Bea Wallen

            When Jesus and his disciples became so pressed by the demands and needs of others; there came a time when he addressed his closest followers, the 12 Apostles by saying, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” For there were many coming and going and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31).

            Jesus and the disciples always had crowds around them. Not all of them came for the right reasons. Some of them came out of curiosity. Some of them came to see some great awesome work. But others came to be part of the bread line – they just wanted a free meal. But no matter what their reason for coming, Jesus had compassion for them. He was ready to receive them and to meet their deepest needs.

            Today there’s a lot of people who come to church for the wrong reason. They come because it makes them feel good or to hear the music. Some come out of curiosity just to see what it going on or to find a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Not everybody in church comes for the right reason and not everybody in church is a Christian. Even if they come for the wrong reasons Jesus can reach out and grab hold of them to meet their spiritual needs.

            When we feel stressed or lonely or overburdened, Jesus always sees us and he has great compassion for us. God takes special care of those in great need. Psalm 72:12. Mark further informs us in Mark 6:34, “And Jesus when he came out saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.” 

Jesus had a deep kind of compassion toward people. He observed them and ministered to them. He saw them as needy individuals, like sheep who needed the care of a shepherd. Many times when he healed people from sickness and disease, he felt compassion on those who were afflicted (see Matthew 14:14, 20:34; Mark 1:41, 5:19).

            Even in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was concerned about his disciples. When the Roman guards came to arrest him, he said, “You’re after me, let them go.” His compassion and care for those he loved never ceased. Even on the cross engulfed in his own excruciating suffering as he was hanging and bleeding for out sins, he remembered to give his mother in to the care of the Apostle John. No matter what he was experiencing he had compassion on people. He was concerned about their needs.

            And so when the people came to him from the Galilee region he had compassion on them. He taught them because he knew their greatest need was to understand the truth about God. He was concerned for their lives and their eternal destiny. He was concerned for their comfort and so he had them sit. He was concerned for their bodily needs and so he fed them.

            But that simple quiet moment in Mark 6:31 shows the same compassion in perhaps a more poignant way. He was concerned for his disciples that the demands on them were getting too great and so he called upon them to come aside and rest.

            I believe Christ still deals with us in that same way. He calls is to come aside and rest. You might say, “But there’s so much work to do for Christ.” Yes, that is true and those how labor for the Lord are to be commended. But your all powerful all knowing, untiring master is aware of your situation and he knows that sometimes you need a break to come aside and rest.

            Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This means from labor, from worry, from fatigue and from being overwhelmed. He calls you to find rest for your soul.

            Are you weary? Heavy laden? Overburdened because of all the needy people and the tasks all around you? If you’re tempted to keep carrying those burdens as some kind of “badge of honor” remember this, Jesus doesn’t want you to burn out for God.” As the saying goes, “Get over yourself.” Come aside and rest.

            As keepers of your home and family, caring for children, cleaning, cooking, laundry and all these routine chores. Jesus calls you to come aside and rest. As a mother myself, I know this is hard. We mothers seen to run overtime. But Christ wants us to find time for meditation and rest for our souls.

To all those of you who are burdened by life and its worries, Choose Christ! Let him be your resource your resting place, your redeemer!

From my heart.